The Department of Homeland Security is preparing to revive the Migrant Protection Protocols policy under a federal court order, the department announced Thursday.
MPP, more commonly known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy, requires many migrants seeking asylum to stay in Mexico while awaiting their immigration hearings. The Biden administration has tried multiple times to strike down the policy, but in August, a federal judge in Texas ordered the program restored.
The new iteration of MPP will include several key changes, including that court proceedings would “generally” conclude after six months, increased transparency for migrants enrolled in MPP, improved asylum proceedings and greater access to legal counsel before and during immigration interview and hearings for those in the program.
MPP will also address “humanitarian concerns” shared by the U.S. and Mexican governments. Migrants will have access to safe, secure shelters in Mexico, transportation to U.S. ports of entry and access to essentials like health care and work permits in Mexico. The U.S. government will also provide Covid-19 vaccines to all those affected by MPP. The program will also exclude “particularly vulnerable individuals” from being enrolled.
If Mexico agrees to restart MPP, the program could resume as soon as Monday.
DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas wrote in an Oct. 29 memo that MPP has “endemic flaws, imposed unjustifiable human costs, pulled resources and personnel away from other priority efforts, and failed to address the root causes of irregular migration.”
“Our view of the program has not changed,” press secretary Jen Psaki said in a Thursday briefing. “We are working to implement under the court order.”